This past weekend four members of the Mars Hill cycling team (Jake Hill, John Butler, Barry Wilcox, and Chad Capobianco) traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, for the Ride for Hope. The ride was organized to raise money for local charities and to honor Jerry Zucker, a very well known philanthropist in the business world, who unfortunately died of cancer in April of 2008. Mars Hill University business professor Beth Cessna had connections with the ride organizers and suggested that we give the Ride for Hope a try. As the four of us are primarily road racers, this sounded like an excellent opportunity to be able to show support for Jerry Zucker’s legacy while representing Mars Hill University. Getting involved with the community is very important to our team, so we were very excited to participate in this special ride.
We left around lunchtime on Saturday afternoon after an easy morning spin. The car was packed to the max with nothing but bikes, bags, and good humor. Once we arrived at the hotel, which was generously paid for by a member of the race organization, we rested and cleaned up for dinner. Dinner was at an outstanding restaurant called Ms. Roses, which is owned by the wife of Jerry Zucker. Eating at Ms. Zuckers’ restaurant was a treat in itself, as some unbelievably nice people joined us that were also apart of the ride on the following day. Some top sponsors of the event ate with us, and shared really touching and eye opening stories. We couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable evening; it really was an incredible experience.
Sunday morning we were up bright and early. The ride started at 8 am and the temperature was perfect. Everyone’s spirits were high. We even had a special guest join us for the ride: George Hincapie. A former professional cyclist, George is very involved in giving back to the community and decided to come out for some fun. The 65-mile ride began at a comfortable pace until the halfway point when “Big George” decided to put the hammer down. The remainder of the ride was lightning fast with only a handful of riders finishing in the front group. After the ride, we were treated to a delicious meal and some awesome music. We chatted with many of our new friends before we had to hit the road to return back to Mars Hill.
The Ride for Hope was a great experience that we will never forget. The people we met were very inspiring and their generosity was incredible. They definitely made an impact on the four of our lives, and we hope to pass on the good words of wisdom that we have learned. We hope to make this ride a tradition for years to come!
— Chad Capobianco